The lack of recognition for the Turkish language

July 6, 2014

According to the Brigitta Busch, Professor of linguistics at the University of Vienna, Austria is generally paying low or no attention and offers no recognition to language diversity inside its borders. In particular, the Turkish language, Busch stresses, does not enjoy any positive reputation; however, since some parts of the government want to establish a Turkish Matura at the Gymnasiums, some politicians from the right are openly showing their assessment.

Call for Investigation into Death of Turkish Man in Netherlands

17 July 2012

The death of 64-year-old Aziz Kara, a man of Turkish descent in the Netherlands, has sparked calls for police investigation. Kara died after allegedly being struck by his neighbor Henk W. and hitting his head on the ground. Other neighbors report that Henk and his wife had “never made a secret of the fact they dislike Turks but have also antagonized their native Dutch neighbors”, Dutch News reports. Turkish organizations in the country are calling for an investigation into the conflict focusing on its “social and community aspects.”

Austrian documentary about turkish muezzins

In his recent documentary “Muezzin,” Austrian filmmaker Sebastian Brameshuber follows a number of Turkish muezzins during their participation in a yearly-held competition to find the best muezzin in Turkey. He interviews them on their roles as fathers and teachers, while pursuing the main question of the relationship between music and speech.

A Turk at the Top

Politician Cem Özdemir is set to soon become Germany’s first national party leader of Turkish descent. As head of the Green Party, he will break through a glass ceiling that still persists for most of the country’s estimated 2.5 million ethnic Turks. Cem Özdemir raises his vodka-orange and winks.
“Serefe.” He seems to relax. There was a crowd outside the bar, packed into Berlin’s KulturBrauerei for the mid-September Radio Multikulti festival, and the way to the small upstairs table had been full of random greetings and handshakes. Özdemir became a political cult hero in 1994, when, at 28, he became the first person of Turkish descent to enter Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag. Now an influential member of the European Parliament in Brussels with three books and countless public appearances under his belt, the charismatic politician recently acquired the aura of a future titan within the country’s influential Green Party. Nine days earlier, Volker Ratzmann withdrew from the November 14 race for the party’s top leadership post, clearing the way for Özdemir to claim another high-profile milestone as the first member of an ethnic minority to lead a German national party. Michael Giglio reports.

Full-text article continues here.(Some news sites may require registration)

German mosques open their doors

Hundreds of mosques throughout Germany opened their doors to the general public on Friday, allowing people from other faiths to get first-hand information about Islam, organizers said.
More than 50,000 visitors took advantage of the 12th ‘Day of Open Mosques’ to explore the houses of worship and pose questions about Islam, according to the Coordination Council of Muslims and the Turkish Muslim group DITIB. Around 2,500 mostly bigger mosques organized exhibitions, held round-table discussions on religion or briefings on integration and language courses. The annual event coincided this year with the end of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan. A heavy rush of visitors to mosques was reported in major German cities like Cologne, Mannheim and Berlin. The planned construction of numerous mosques across Germany has sparked an Islamophobic debate aimed at fanning anti-Muslim sentiments in the media. While most Germans view positively the building of mosques, a small but vocal minority has criticized it as a “display of Muslim power.”

Full-text article continues here.(Some news sites may require registration)

L’islam, un recours pour les jeunes

Based on a long ethnographic study, L’Islam, un recours pour les jeunes focuses on the Islamic identities of French youth with North African or Turkish origins and working-class backgrounds. It asserts that young men and women’s religious paths are linked to experiences at school, within immigrant families and in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Young men complain of being labelled negatively at school and being pushed toward low-skilled jobs instead of the professional vocations and lifestyles for which they yearn. They are often in conflict with teachers or with career advisers and engage Muslim symbols to protest against school judgments. The book also insists on the deep differences between Turkish and North-African populations with working-class backgrounds. The Turkish populations settled in France later than North-Africans and subsequently their settlement has been more fragile. They want to preserve traditions and customs from their country of origin, a phenomenon reinforced by the high concentrations of Turkish populations in urban areas. Turkish parents’ aspirations influence their goals for their children, especially in relation to school, professional life and marriage. The second part of Kapko’s book discussed the response of local authorities to Muslim religious claims. For over a decade, changes in Muslim demands of local policitians in relation to religious practice have been noticed. In comparison to demands made in the 1980s by immigrant fathers which focused on the need for prayer space, the 1990s have seen new demands such as the right to wear the headscarf in public spaces, the participation of local politicians to seminars held by religious leaders, and accommodation of religious arguments during negotiations with local political leaders. This investigation shows that council representatives often only select the aspects of the demands that seem to suit their objectives -keeping public order, social integration-and ignore the religious content of the demands. In other cases discussed, religious intonations are not ignored but rather exploited by the local government. Government officials, who fear confrontations between ethnic groups in disadvantaged areas, are tempted to turn religious militants into unofficial mediators between immigrant populations and public authorities.